By Del Mcalister Australia
I love scouring local op shops and garage sales for items that may be of use in my role as a recreational activities officer.
I also look around my home to see what can be re-used.
Recycling is not only good for the environment, but provides the materials for interesting and enjoyable activities for our residents.
1. Reminiscing boxes: Garage sales and op shops / charity shops are the best places to find items that are familiar to our residents. Items such as aprons, doilies, old clocks, keys, postcards, radios etc. can be kept in a reminiscing box for residents to look at and touch or reminisce about during discussion sessions. You may also create themed reminiscing boxes for individual residents.
2. Books: Specialty books are affordable in second hand bookstores. Books published with a hobby, goal or passion in mind such as books on the subjects of Railways, Military, Trees, Aviation, Buildings, History, and more. You never know what will spark the interest of residents.
3. Crazy hats: We love our crazy hat days. Most of these hats are secondhand, and individually decorated by our residents. Our residents and staff enjoy posing for pictures whilst wearing these hats. It's a sure way of putting smiles on faces!
4. Calendars: As the new year dawned I asked for old calendars from members of several local communities. I was inundated with them! The suitable ones were pulled apart and the pages were laminated to be used as discussion cards. The residents love the pictures of old cars, flowers and fluffy cats. Other ones were used for our themed boards that we decorate for special occasions.
5. Christmas and birthday cards: We ask friends and family for their old unwanted cards. It's amazing how many we've accumulated. We use them for art and craft activities, and for sorting tasks.
6. Magazines: Members of our community drop off magazines after they've read them. Our residents enjoy reading/cutting them; they are also used for for crafts such as collages, card and posters making.
7. Buttons: Tins of buttons provide a sorting activity. They can also be used to decorate picture frames. There are loads of other great button craft ideas on Pinterest.
8. Leftover fabric: These can be used for making small lavender pillows, and tissue holders. Larger bits can be used to make wheelie walker bags, and stuffed toys or dolls clothing.
9. Leftover lace: Bits of old lace can be used for bookmark and card making, and can be added to dolls clothing made with bits of leftover fabric.
10. Scarves: In a recycled basket is a selection of colourful women's scarves in a variety of fabrics. Also found in charity shops and garage sales, wash them up and add to the collection. Some women get much pleasure out of touching them and folding them. They can also be used to wave around in time to music and included in exercise routines.
11. Picture frames: Op shops usually have lots of these. Just take out the original picture and use the frames to frame for artwork/posters ! You can then start your own art gallery with very little financial outlay!
12. Paper offcuts: A friend who works in a printing company gave us lots of offcuts of paper and cardboard for our craft, bookmark and card making activities. Why don't you visit a printing company in your area and see what they can offer?
One of the benefits of recycling is the positive impact it has on the budget.
When you can buy something for next-to-nothing, there's more money in the kitty for other items!
I am sure you can think of many more ideas. Why don't you share them in the comments below? Let's do our bit for the environment whilst having fun at the same time.